Spacer graphic Boston Public Library
Board of Trustees

December 16, 2010


Special Meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency
Thursday, December 16, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
East Boston Branch Library
276 Meridian Street, East Boston, MA

  1. Chairman's Report, Trustee Jeffrey B. Rudman
    • Approval of Minutes for the Trustees Meeting on November 16, 2010

  2. President's Report, Ms. Amy E. Ryan
    • Presentation by Mr. William Rawn, Principal, William Rawn Associates, Architects Inc.,
      Introduction to East Boston Branch Library project
      Ms. Christine Schonhart, Director, Branch Libraries
    • Discussion and vote of draft “The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence”
      Trustee James Carroll, Chairman, Trustees Compass Committee

      VOTED: “that the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston approve
      “The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence” ”

    • Discussion and vote of draft “Boston Public Library/Metro Boston Library Network Technology Plan, 2011-2012”
      Mr. David Leonard, Chief Technology Officer

      VOTED: “that the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston approve
      the “Boston Public Library/Metro Boston Library Network Technology Plan, 2011-2012”

    • FY12 City of Boston Operating Budget preliminary overview and schedule
      Ms. Meredith Weenick, Acting Director, Office of Administration & Finance, City of Boston
    • FY12 Boston Public Library Operating Budget preliminary overview and schedule
      Ms. Amy E. Ryan, President
    • Discussion of possible new library in Uphams Corner development
      Ms. Amy E. Ryan, President

  3. New Business, Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman
  4. Adjournment, Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

Upcoming Trustees Meetings:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 3:00 p.m., Brighton Branch Library
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 3:00 p.m., Charlestown Branch Library
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 8:30 a.m., Annual Meeting, Orientation Room, McKim Building

Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman; Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Vice Chairman;
Zamawa Arenas; James Carroll; Donna M. DePrisco; Carol Fulp;
Berthé M. Gaines; Paul A. La Camera; Byron Rushing

Amy E. Ryan

Clerk of the Board
Jamie McGlone

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Minutes of Special Trustees Meeting
Tuesday, December 16, 2010
Corporation and Administrative Agency
East Boston Branch Library

A Special Meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency was held at the East Boston Branch Library, 276 Meridian Street, East Boston, MA on Tuesday, December 16, 2010, at 3:00 p.m.

Present at the meeting were: Trustees Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, James Carroll, Paul A. La Camera, Jeffrey B. Rudman and Byron Rushing. Absent from the meeting were Board members Trustees Zamawa Arenas, Donna M. DePrisco, Carol Fulp and Berthé M. Gaines. The Honorable Boston City Coucillor Salvatore LaMattina also attended.

Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Alice Hennessey, Special Assistant to Mayor Thomas M. Menino; Meredith Weenick, Associate Director, Administration & Finance, City of Boston; Jean Capizzi, Operating Analyst, Office of Budget Management; Joseph I. Mulligan III, Deputy Director, and Maureen Anderson, Senior Project Manager, Property & Construction Management Department, City of Boston; Karen Maddalena and Maddy McComiskey, Friends of East Boston Branch Library; Deborah Kirrane, WilmerHale LLP; Josephine Bruzzese, President, Orient Heights Branch Library; MiMi Jones, Friends of Dudley Branch Library and member of Trustees Compass Committee; Don Haber, Co-chair, Friends of Jamaica Plain Branch; Marlene Nienhuis, President, Friends of South End Branch; Kowal, Director, Administration and Finance; Gina Perille, Chief Communications Officer; Michael Colford, Director, Resource Services and Information Technology; Mary Flaherty, Human Resources Manager; Christine Schonhart, Neighborhood Services Manager; Mary Frances O’Brien, Central Library Services Manager; David Leonard, Chief Technology Officer; Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer; Edward Maheigan, Budget and Procurement Manager; Jim Meade, Manager of Facilities; Margaret Kelly, East Boston Branch Librarian; Karen Shafts, Chief Steward, BPL Professional Staff Association; approximately 45 members of the public; and Jamie McGlone, Clerk of the Board.

Also present were representatives from William Rawn, Architects, Inc., including
William Rawn, Clifford Gayley, and Mark Oldham for an introduction to the new East Boston Branch Library project.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.

The Chairman addressed the first item on the order of business pertaining to the review and approval of the Minutes of the Trustees Meetings on November 16, 2010. Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, the Minutes of the Trustees Meeting on November 16, 2010 were approved and subsequently posted on the BPL website at

President Ryan, in her report to the Trustees, introduced Ms. Margaret Kelly, East Boston Branch Librarian. Ms. Kelly provided an overview of the history, resources, programs and library services delivered to the very diverse community noting that the East Boston Branch was the first municipally supported branch library in the United States established in 1869 and that library service has been provided to the neighborhood 1914. Distinctive aspects of the collection include the history of shipping paintings by Frederick Leonard King and a strong local history collection.

Ms. Christine Schonhart, Director, Branch Libraries welcomed and introduced Mr. William Rawn, Principal, William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., and the architect team for an introduction to the new East Boston Branch Library project.

Ms. Schonhart noted that discussions are ongoing with interested parties on the preferred site and more information will be provided in January 2011 while discussions are continuing with affiliates who own the Bremen Street Park adjacent to the site. Meanwhile, the first community advisory task force meeting was recently held that was well received by the community.

The architects referenced a model of the proposed library site on display noting that the floor plans for the building are in process and provided insight on the general approach and philosophy on how the architects plan to design the library based on principles of library design. The proposed site reflects a floor plan totaling 14,800 square feet.

The architects underscored the critical principles of establishing opportunity and access for the diverse East Boston community for people of walks of life, ages and economic status. Secondly, the future library must have a strong connection to the City which is reflected in the proposed fantastic site that is part of the City and part of Bremen Street Park.

In light of constrained staffing issues, the design of the library will provide clear and open site lines so that there is great supervision from a central point that allows for a sense of security awareness and a place that is welcoming for a broad population all will be addressed through design.

In an era of computers, books are critically important which will be celebrated throughout facility while recognizing technology is equally important for providing opportunities for a diverse population. The design program will respond to the needs of future learners through a very large children’s room, sizable teen room, and a multipurpose room that allows for an expansion space for the children’s room.

The importance of sustainability, durability and ease of maintenance will be addressed including incorporating the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) principles in the project.

The architects walked the Board through the proposed library building that will be located in close proximity to public transportation, a Y facility, and highly visible from the highway.

The architects identified five goals for the library site including: idea of a civic presence on a park setting with connection to the broader Greenway initiative for East Boston; strong visibility and presence in the City; accessibility to the broad population; a library facility that engages the park environment; and transparency from the park to attract users.

The architects discussed the plans for the proposed community room with a vision of a multipurpose space that could be outfitted to be an expansion space for the children’s room and adjusted for accommodating community space. The space totals approximately 1,000 sq. ft. and would comfortably provide seating for 65 people.

Trustee Paul A. La Camera noted the principle of providing community access and queried whether the proposed community room space for accommodating 65 people would be adequate to meet the needs of the neighborhood and asked if the foot print would allow for a larger community room.

President Ryan referred to the library program noting the design is intended to use the space to capacity given that even the busiest meeting rooms in libraries throughout the country are only busy 10 -15 % of the time. The primary purpose is to allow for the meeting room to be part of the library and the program has been pushed program as far as possible with operational resources and staffing.

Following further discussion, Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman asked the city representatives provide cost estimates for potential community room upgrades that would be shared with the Board.

Trustee James Carroll, Chairman, Trustees Compass Committee opened the discussion on the draft “The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence” noting the final draft completed principles were shared with the Board in advance of the meeting and the Chair would be asking for a vote of approval of these principles.

Chairman Carroll noted the draft principles are a revision of the draft principles that was presented to the Board for discussion at the Trustees Meeting on November 16, 2010 recalling that the Board, Trustees Compass Committee, and members of the public were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft set of principles.

Chairman Carroll observed that the Compass process has been one of the greatest privileges he has experienced as a Trustee over the last decade. The Chairman acknowledged Trustee Zamawa Arenas and Trustee Byron Rushing who are members of the Trustees Compass Committee and the significant contributions of Trustee A. Raymond Tye.

The Chair acknowledged with gratitude the contributions of Ms. Alice Hennessey and Ms. Mimi Jones who were present at today’s meeting and the members of the Trustees Compass Committee that includes academic experts, some of the most well-informed library science people in the world, BPL staff, friends, and Trustees.

The Chairman reported on the compass process which began over a year ago and reminded the compass process is the library’s symbolic term for an overall strategic planning process that was effectively launched by President Ryan as one of her first principles when she was appointed President of the Boston Public Library on October 1, 2008.

The Chairman observed the compass process has had from the beginning received as the highest priority the broadest possible ownership of this process by all of the members of the library’s constituencies and stakeholders. Since this has been the case, the process has been proceeding deliberately, following on the report of the Trustees Neighborhood Services Initiative last year.

The Chairman noted the compass process deliberations have been a crucial part of the success of this process because the process itself has been transformed itself by the events generated by the fiscal crisis last winter. The Chair also emphasized the crucial element of ownership of the process is by the virtue that all members of the library community have created this plan, including staff, Trustees, users, neighborhoods, affiliates, friends, and the BPL Foundation.

The Chairman noted that he reported on the conclusion of Phase I of the Compass process at the Trustees Meeting on September 14, 2010 recalling the Trustees Compass Committee has overall responsibility for the process that includes representatives of the various constituencies. The Chairman acknowledged with gratitude the superb leadership of Ms. Christine Schonhart, Director, Branch Libraries who served as the project leader for Phase I.

Phase II of the BPL Compass was officially launched on Saturday, October 23, 2010 with remarks by Chairman James Carroll followed by an open house at the Central Library of the Boston Public Library. Over the last two months, there has been an extraordinary public process involving community meetings and online processes that has resulted in over 16,000 responses have been received to date that has been complimented by a postcard campaign throughout the city designed to gather input from non-library users.

The fifth and final meeting of the Trustees Compass Committee was held on December 7, 2010 met on November 10, 2010 to discuss and review the set of revised draft “The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence” that were presented to the Board in November 2010. The draft Principles for Excellence has been further refined and were in anticipation of the discussion and final vote at today’s Special Trustees Meeting.

The Chair reported that with the adoption of the draft principles the compass process will conclude and therefore launch the next phase of the strategic planning process that will be extended to May 2011 in concert with the establishment of a strategic planning committee. The principles will guide the library going forward as very specific and concrete decisions are made about the future of the library.

The Chairman strongly reiterated the strategic planning process is a critical, useful and important process especially while the library continues to be confronted with the fiscal challenges because decisions can be made in terms in relationship to measures that have been established by a public process and owned by all stakeholders.

Trustee Byron Rushing observed that everyone who has participated in the public discussion of the compass process heard the need for the library to have both a strategic plan and for that plan to be as explicit and transparent as possible.

Trustee Byron Rushing further observed that the Trustees by reengaging the users of the library in the compass planning process did just the right thing and acknowledged the large number of people who participated did so enthusiastically and were fully engaged in the process.

Trustee Rushing underscored it is also very important to understand that the library is serious about these principles which reflects the large framework for the library now and the library into the immediate future and the current task is to put in all the priorities, goals and details under the principles. The strategic planning process has not ended and is the beginning of the planning process for the Boston Public Library.

Mr. Michael Colford, Compass Phase II project leader, provided an overview of the revised draft “Strategic Planning: The BPL Compass Principles for Excellence” which reflects the evolution of these principles since their creation and shared with the Board a summary of the over 2,000 comments and details of the input from the over forty meetings and 900 people who participated, including five community meetings, an online meeting, online compass blog, online survey, and a postcard campaign survey.

The next step will be to post the feedback online and paper copies distributed at all branch libraries for those without access to computers. Chairman Carroll underscored that over 16,000 discrete comments have been received by the library and listened to during this process and observed that he is especially grateful for the non-library user input particularly in the way the library found a way to reach out to the non-user community.

Mr. Colford reported the Trustees Compass Committee met twice since the last Board meeting in November in addition to several general staff meetings and feedback was received from both Executive Boards of the unions of the Professional Staff Association and AFSCME Local Union.

Mr. Colford provided a review of the draft “The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence” reflecting the final and latest iteration of suggested principles based on all input in the process.

Trustee Evelyn Arana-Ortiz noted that she attended the last meeting of the Trustees Compass Committee and is amazed at how the amount of input has been incorporated into the eight principles below and represents a road map for the Board for decision-making going forward coupled with a blueprint for a strategic plan for the future of the BPL.

Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, and on the recommendation of the Trustees Compass Committee, it was unanimously

VOTED: “that the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Approve “The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence”

The BPL Compass: Principles for Excellence
Carved in Stone on McKim Building
The Public Library of the City of Boston built by the people and dedicated to the advancement of learning. The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty. Free to All. MDCCCLXXXVII (1887)

I) User-Centered Institution
The BPL is a user-centered institution with services that anticipate and respond to neighborhood interests and the changing demographics of the City and Commonwealth.

II) Community Gathering
The BPL exists to serve and sustain communities that foster discovery, reading, thinking, conversing, teaching and learning, both in welcoming, accessible and sustainable facilities throughout the city, as well as with an engaging online presence.

III) BPL Collections
The BPL is committed to the ongoing development and preservation of its distinctive special collections, which provide citizens from all walks of life with access to their common cultural heritage.

IV) Center of Knowledge
The BPL is a center of knowledge, which serves researchers, lifelong learners, and the intellectually curious through its incomparable collections, digital resources and access to other scholarly networks.

V) Children and Teens
The BPL fosters the love of reading and skills in critical and creative thinking among children and teens from early literacy through mature readership by offering a slate of services that provide academic support and intellectual growth.

VI) Access and Innovation
The BPL provides access to, and training in, innovative technology, electronic resources, and digital information, through its own holdings and its strategic position within the wider world of knowledge.

VII) Sustainable Organization
The BPL depends on sustainability of resources through a judicious stewardship of finances; active employee participation and professional development in an environment of dignity and respect; and partnerships that enrich services, expand outreach, and leverage public investment through private support.

The BPL leads the way for people of all ages with recreational reading and media, invigorating programs, user-created content and opportunities for discovery in settings that are stimulating and engaging.

Chairman Carroll emphasized Mr. Michael Colford has done an extraordinary job with Phase II of the Compass Process noting he has watched him with wonder as he has conveyed to a broad range of the public what the compass process is in a very useful way.

Chairman Carroll observed the Board’s full affirmation of the compass principles reflects a particularly triumph of Amy Ryan’s leadership and presidency of the Boston Public Library, who exerted exactly the right kind of leadership and presided over a process in which the whole library community was engaged in and took ownership of the results.

In addition, Chairman Carroll underscored the Board’s ratification of these principles in a very important way commits the library to these principles in a powerful way and commended the stewardship of President Ryan.

President Ryan introduced Mr. David Leonard, Chief Technology Officer, to provide an overview of the draft “Boston Public Library/Metro Boston Library Network Technology Plan, 2011-2012” that was discussed at the last meeting and acknowledged the contributions of Trustee Evelyn Arana-Ortiz and Trustee Zamawa Arenas.

Mr. David Leonard reviewed the highlights of the draft “Boston Public Library/Metro Boston Library Network Technology Plan, 2011-2012” that was distributed to the Board in advance of the meeting noting that Board approval of the technology plan is required for eRate funding.

Mr. Leonard noted the technology plan is a guide to govern the Information Technology (IT) focus and efforts for the Boston Public Library (BPL) and Metro Boston Library Network (MBLN) membership in the 2011-2012 fiscal years (FY12).

This one-year plan will be followed by a longer range three-year IT strategic plan for 2012-2015, which is expected to stem from an in-depth MBLN, needs assessment and the BPL compass principles. The drafting of the 2012-2015 Technology Plan is expected to happen in conjunction with a reactivated BPL Board of Trustees technology oversight committee.

Mr. Leonard noted approval of the plan by the BPL Board of Trustees, the MBLN Policy Advisory Group and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is a requirement of our erate funding application process.

Achievement of these objectives will be funded through a combination of BPL/City of Boston capital funding, BPL IT operating budget, MBLN member assessments, applicable State funding lines, erate program funding applications and additional grants where possible.

Included among the highlighted goals for the technology plan are to: begin the process of replacing the library’s Integrated Library System (ILS), projected to be a two year project, commencing in December 2010; continue with necessary systems, network and security upgrades to ensure infrastructure stability, energy efficiency and data security; continue planned improvements to the end user computing environment and related public information and technology literacy programs at all locations.

In addition, the technology plan will allow for continuing planned improvements to the Library’s online presence and websites; improve the application of resources to support digitization and accessibility of digital resources; and continue the application of resources to enhanced professional development and staff training needs, particularly in technology and library technology related-fields.

Mr. David Leonard noted the tremendous growth of Overdrive services which is expected to be the lead branch in circulation of the library system if it continues on its accelerated path and reflects a 33% increase in usage from last year.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman discussed the desirability to ensure that access to downloadable materials is reaching the most vulnerable and neediest residents of the City and particularly those who lack computer resources. The library currently deploys some dedicated computers at some BPL locations where access to overdrive is not achievable from home or outside the library.

Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, and on the recommendation of Trustees Technology Sub-Committee, it was unanimously

VOTED: “that the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston approve
the “Boston Public Library/Metro Boston Library Network Technology
Plan, 2011-2012”.

Ms. Meredith Weenick, Associate Director, Administration & Finance, City of Boston, reported on the anticipated fiscal picture for the FY12 City of Boston Operating Budget including a preliminary overview and schedule. Ms. Weeknick reported over the last decade the city has lost over $200 million in State Aid noting at the beginning of the decade State Aid represented one third of its revenue while today it represents 16%.

In addition, the city is more reliant on property tax today than before and after Proposition 2 ½ and many of the city’s sources of revenue have declined due to the economy, including interest on investments that used to be in excess of a $40 million revenue source and is now negligible.

Ms. Weeknick underscored the toll of the cumulative effect of cuts over the decade the city has been trying to address while trying to protect services. The city is expecting cuts again in State Aid for FY12 estimated at 7 ½ % reduction in local aid that represents a $20 million cut coupled with significant increases in health insurance for city employees.

In light of the State facing between a $1.5 to $2 billion fiscal structural gap for FY12, Ms. Weenick noted the City is preparing for a 10% reduction in local aid and the possibility for additional cuts in FY11.

Therefore, this could result in a $20 million reduction city-wide to be borne by all city departments, including the library, and budget instructions for FY12 will be rolled out in mid-December along with specific budget targets to let all city departments know what projected resources will be available in FY12.

The President recalled the Mayor and Boston City Council approved additional funds to keep the branch libraries open to the spring of FY11 which enabled the library to turn to the community and to think about what if any additional funds would be available for the BPL that could free up money to keep the four branches open that are slated for closure.

The President underscored it would be her recommendation to the Board if more additional funds are made available to the Boston Public Library that the four branch libraries be kept open through FY11. To that end, discussions are continuing in the affected communities including several community meetings in the impacted neighborhoods along with meetings with elected officials in the communities.

Mr. Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer, reported that the library received word from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to anticipate a 6% reduction in FY12 below FY11 on both lines of revenue including the Library of Last Recourse and State Aid to Public Libraries which equates to nearly $140,000 loss in revenue from FY11.

President Ryan reviewed the FY12 Boston Public Library Operating Budget preliminary overview and schedule as follows:

Boston Public Library
Preliminary FY12 Budget Timeline

Note: Dates in this timeline are approximate and subject to change.

December 2010
December 16 meeting of Board of Trustees, East Boston

  • Presentation by Meredith Weenick, Acting Director, Office of Administration and Finance, City of Boston, on City of Boston FY12 operating budget overview and schedule
  • Presentation by Amy E. Ryan , Library President, on BPL FY12 operating budget preliminary overview and schedule and discussion with Sean Nelson, BPL Chief Financial Officer, on preliminary revenue assumption

January-February 2011
Preliminary operating and capital budget planning underway with the City

January 18 meeting of Board of Trustees, Brighton

  • FY 12 projected revenue assumption; projected operating costs
  • FY 12 Preliminary ideas for budget options— reductions and additions

Governor’s budget submitted to legislature January 26, 2011

Public roundtables on Boston Public Library finances and budget held

February special meeting of Board of Trustees proposed
Revenue assumption update; estimated cost projections for budget options and review of potential service impacts; preliminary budget direction

March-April 2011

March 8 meeting of Board of Trustees, Charlestown

  • FY 12 draft budget presented for discussion and vote on recommended budget to be submitted to the City (or see special meeting later in March*)
  • FY11 discussion of options for closing budget shortfall if 4th quarter State funding is eliminated

Public roundtables on Boston Public Library finances and budget held

House budget bill voted and sent to Senate

Late March meeting of Board of Trustees* (if needed after March 8 meeting)

  • Additional discussion accordingly
  • Trustees vote on recommended budget to be submitted to the City

Recommended BPL budget submitted to City Administration and Finance
Recommended City budget submitted by the Mayor to City Council on April 13, 2011

May-June 2011
City Council holds budget hearings beginning in May

Board of Trustees annual meeting May 10, Copley Library

  • Update on FY12 budget process

Senate votes on budget bill (refers to conference Committee)
Governor has ten days to act on a budget passed by the Legislature
City Council votes adopted budget

July 2011
City and State budgets for FY12 go into effect

Ongoing Information
Information will be available throughout the budget planning process at

The President noted this preliminary overview and schedule represents the first official conversation regarding the FY12 Boston Public Library Operating Budget. Public roundtable discussions on the Boston Public Library finances and budget will be held during January – February 2011 to give the public the opportunity to understand the library’s finances and make suggestions about next year’s budget.

The President noted the schedule suggests a February 2011 special meeting of Board of Trustees to provide for a revenue assumption update; estimated cost projections for budget options; review of potential service impacts; and preliminary budget direction in anticipation of presenting a draft FY12 budget at the Trustees Meeting on March 8, 2011.

President Ryan reviewed background information on a new library proposed for an Uphams Corner development that has been mentioned recently in local community newspapers. Following discussion, Chairman Rudman asked that cost estimates be explored by the City for the proposed new library in the Uphams Corner development.

There being no other business, the meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency adjourned at 5:00 p.m. and the Board voted to go into Executive Session.

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McGlone
Clerk of the Board

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